Mercedes’ season appears to be ending not how the Silver Arrows would’ve hoped for, after a few races in a row of very strong results.
The Germans locked out the third row of the grid for Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, after Lewis Hamilton and George Russell ended qualifying well off the pace of both Red Bull and Ferrari.
Hamilton claimed the inter-team honours once again, though, and will start fifth with Russell in sixth.
The side’s race pace does appear considerably better than their one-lap performance, meaning that the two British drivers could be in with a shout of a third-place finish at the Yas Marina Circuit, to wrap up the season.
A victory appears to be well and truly out of the question, with Red Bull appearing superior over both a single lap and in race trim.
A Max Verstappen victory is the likely outcome, with it looking likely that the two Ferrari’s and the two Mercedes’ will be duelling for third.
Ferrari’s qualifying performance may have surprised the Brackley-based team, with the Scuderia having seemingly struggled throughout the weekend.
Given how close Mercedes and Ferrari appear to be at the Yas Marina Circuit, it looks unlikely that the Germans will steal second in the Constructors’ Championship, given that Ferrari don’t endure a horrific season finale.
Russell certainly doesn’t look like he’ll claim back-to-back victories on Sunday, following on from his maiden F1 victory at Interlagos last weekend.
Something very interesting was actually revealed regarding Russell during qualifying, by Sky Sports F1 reporter Ted Kravitz.
Kravitz revealed during Q1 that the 24-year-old didn’t suffer from a water leak at the Brazilian GP, something which Mercedes reported at the time.
Following the race, Russell claimed that Mercedes would’ve been forced to retire the car had the race been three laps longer, with the late Safety Car having appeared to have saved the former Williams driver.
However, Kravitz revealed that Mercedes had discovered in Abu Dhabi that Russell didn’t suffer from a water leak, but a faulty sensor, meaning his car was actually completely fine.
Mercedes only got a chance to discover the issue when the car arrived at the circuit, due to there having been so little time between getting all the team’s equipment from Sao Paulo to Abu Dhabi, an extremely long journey.